A Decade After Losing A Sibling To Cancer – Take :10 Seconds Today
Well, another year has passed and again I think of my little brother, Brian. He lost his brief battle with Stage 4 stomach cancer on this day. That was 10 years ago now.
10 years. A whole decade.
Time to share a memory locked away for a decade. I talked with him the night before he died. Rather, the only way I could handle it (I was going through a horrid divorce) was actually to interview him.
I needed to go into “work mode” to avoid emotionally breaking down and crying uncontrollably…which surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to get hit that hard. We hadn’t really been on the same vibe for a while.
My brother and I had a very close special bond however our paths went in polar opposite directions. I wanted to make something of myself. He wanted to be an outlaw. I didn’t respect him. I loved him but I don’t think I liked him.
I’ve only listened to the audio of this interview maybe 4 times since. It’s a bit emotional…still. And yes. I’m still surprised I get emotional about it.
I think it’s partly because I saw so many positive changes in my brother while he was battling his cancer. He was already Stage-4 when it was diagnosed. That is a major dose of reality. Deep down I knew there wasn’t a lot of hope and I was pretty wrapped up in a very nasty divorce.
However, that outlaw that I’d be embarrassed to be associated with started to become a normal regular adult. A friend again.
He turned into a man who started to appreciate the little things. He asked about my divorce but I kept the details of that horror-show to myself. He had enough to think about. Still, I think he felt good trying to encourage me. Rare roll reversal. Coming of age. I remember really liking that guy and then realized I’d never be able to just – sit and have a beer with him.
So, *maybe* instead we both double dosed on his THC meds and saw God together as a weird brother duo detective team cartoon from the 70s by Hannah Barbara – “The Antonivich Brother’s and The Case of The Incurable Cancer”.
But I digress…..
Let’s just say it was the most we were able to laugh in a long time. Both of us. The next day his laugh was silenced. 11 months was all he had.
One of the things he made me promise him is that he’d never be forgotten. I remember seeing a look of fear in his eyes when he made me promise. Not because he was dying but because he was “going to be forgotten at such a young age”.
He was 34.
What I have come to realize is that the fear was much more. I think he didn’t want to be remembered for the person he was but for the grown up he became.
I like to think my last words: “I’m very proud of you, Brian” offered some comfort. So, every year, I try to keep my promise in the only way I can and write a memory so he is remembered.
This year I want to ask you to do something for me.
On this 10th Anniversary….take :10 of your day and think of a loved one like my brother or anyone you miss. Thanks. So, why has today hit harder?
I’ve accepted that one of the most difficult losses for grieving adult siblings can be the sense of loss of a shared history, right?
Think of it. Your brother or sister grew up in the same house with you, shared the same parents, attended the same school, climbed the same tree…got into the same trouble….Who else knew your childhood so well?
Your first best friend will never be forgotten.